To the editor:
The recent Missouri referendum on Health Care Reform had all the characteristics of a “push poll” (a question designed to produce the desired answer). It is not surprising that 71 percent of Missouri voters did not want the government to require the purchase of health insurance. Who wants the government telling them what to do?
However, if you asked those same people whether they thought health insurers should be prohibited from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions by refusing them insurance or rescinding their insurance after they got sick, most would answer yes. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other.
If the government mandated guaranteed insurability without mandating participation, many people would simply wait until they got sick to buy insurance. That would be like allowing individuals to buy automobile insurance to cover a wreck they already had. The premiums would be horrendous.
Most of us are optimistic by nature. We don’t really believe bad things will happen to us. In truth, any one of us could someday be faced with unemployment and a family member with cancer making us uninsurable. Over 70 percent of U.S. bankruptcies involve crushing health care costs.
The individual health insurance mandate was originally a Republican idea (back when they had ideas) conceived to get to universal coverage without national health insurance, and it is a necessary idea. We simply cannot have the blessing of guaranteed coverage without the “evil” of mandated participation, and no political stunt can change that fact.